[mythology Books] Ebook Wonderful Life The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History ✓ Stephen Jay Gould

REVIEW Wonderful Life The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

High in the Canadian Rockies is a small limestone uarry formed 530 million years ago called the Burgess Shale It hold th. A book about wonder and a wonderful book The story of the Burgess Shale from its initial misinterpretation to its reassessment 50 years later is mind blowing This limestone outcropping which sits at an altitude of 8000 feet in the Canadian Rockies near British Columbia was at euatorial sea level 530 million years ago Its shale has revealed about 150 previously unknown arthropod genera and entirely new species with anatomies that would be unimaginable to us today had Charles Doolittle Walcott not discovered them in 1909 Gould calls these animals with their diverse anatomies weird wonders and explains that their broad proliferation was possible because the middle Cambrian was a time of filling the so called ecological barrel In other words it was a time of low ecological competition among animals which ultimately permitted unsuccessful anatomies to flourish for a few million years before the full panoply of evolutionary pressures natural selection began to eliminate the less successful designs Another thing learned from the Burgess Shale is the imprecision of the concept survival of the fittest Certainly adapting to environmental change is vital but it s not the whole ballgame The adapted animal also needs luck on its side luck that it cannot possibly have any direct role in affecting I refer to the importance of contingency Gould calls it decimation by lottery and given its sway unyielding adherence to classic evolutionary principles like gradualism etc reveal their short sightednessFinally if you will accept my argument that contingency is not only resolvable and important but also fascinating in a special sort of way then the Burgess not only reverses our general ideas about the source of pattern it also fills us with a new kind of amazement also a frisson for the improbability of the event at the fact that humans ever evolved at all We came this close put your thumb about a millimeter away from your index finger thousands and thousands of times to erasure by the veering of history down another sensible channel Replay the tape a million times from a Burgess beginning and I doubt that anything like Homo sapiens would ever evolve again It is indeed a wonderful life p 289If you re like me one who wonders why we were set down on a speck of interstellar dust in the midst of a universe so vast we daily fail to comprehend its age and scale this book is for you Gould is a fabulous writer He writes with a minimum of jargon and concepts of any complexity he is careful to explain But he does this without being tedious he does it in fact while sharing his own boundless sense of fascination Gould was a brilliant man a rare amalgam of top flight scientist science writer and teacher When he died 10 years ago he left a great hole in the landscape of writers who could engagingly write for the general reader about evolutionary biology and paleontology There is simply no one else like him working today I m in the process of reading all of his books There are about 20 Highly recommended for those with an interest in science particularly the life sciences The Illusionists uarry formed 530 million years ago called the Burgess Shale It hold th. A book about wonder and a wonderful book The story of the Burgess Shale from its initial misinterpretation to its reassessment 50 years later is mind blowing This limestone outcropping which sits at an altitude of 8000 feet in the Canadian Rockies near British Columbia was at euatorial sea level 530 million years ago Its shale has revealed about 150 previously O Último Testamento (Maggie Costello, unknown arthropod genera and entirely new species with anatomies that would be One for My Baby unimaginable to Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, us today had Charles Doolittle Walcott not discovered them in 1909 Gould calls these animals with their diverse anatomies weird wonders and explains that their broad proliferation was possible because the middle Cambrian was a time of filling the so called ecological barrel In other words it was a time of low ecological competition among animals which We ultimately permitted The Moon Platoon (Space Runners, unsuccessful anatomies to flourish for a few million years before the full panoply of evolutionary pressures natural selection began to eliminate the less successful designs Another thing learned from the Burgess Shale is the imprecision of the concept survival of the fittest Certainly adapting to environmental change is vital but it s not the whole ballgame The adapted animal also needs luck on its side luck that it cannot possibly have any direct role in affecting I refer to the importance of contingency Gould calls it decimation by lottery and given its sway The Echo (The Anomaly Quartet, unyielding adherence to classic evolutionary principles like gradualism etc reveal their short sightednessFinally if you will accept my argument that contingency is not only resolvable and important but also fascinating in a special sort of way then the Burgess not only reverses our general ideas about the source of pattern it also fills The Asset (Wounded Warrior us with a new kind of amazement also a frisson for the improbability of the event at the fact that humans ever evolved at all We came this close put your thumb about a millimeter away from your index finger thousands and thousands of times to erasure by the veering of history down another sensible channel Replay the tape a million times from a Burgess beginning and I doubt that anything like Homo sapiens would ever evolve again It is indeed a wonderful life p 289If you re like me one who wonders why we were set down on a speck of interstellar dust in the midst of a Shadow of Doubt (Newpointe 911, universe so vast we daily fail to comprehend its age and scale this book is for you Gould is a fabulous writer He writes with a minimum of jargon and concepts of any complexity he is careful to explain But he does this without being tedious he does it in fact while sharing his own boundless sense of fascination Gould was a brilliant man a rare amalgam of top flight scientist science writer and teacher When he died 10 years ago he left a great hole in the landscape of writers who could engagingly write for the general reader about evolutionary biology and paleontology There is simply no one else like him working today I m in the process of reading all of his books There are about 20 Highly recommended for those with an interest in science particularly the life sciences

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Wonderful Life The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

E remains of an ancient sea where dozens of strange creatures lived a forgotten corner of evolution preserved in awesome. The Burgess Shale is a fossil deposit of importance eual to that of the Rift Valley sites of East Africa in that it provides truly pivotal evidence for the story of life on earth The shale comes from a small uarry in the Canadian Rockies discovered in the early 20th century by Charles Walcott then a leading figure at the Smithsonian The Burgess fossils come from the Middle Cambrian Period around 350 million years ago They form one of the earliest assemblages of soft bodied creatures from the first era 1 0 multicelled animals They include various worms crustaceans etc but also a large number of uniue and unclassifiable forms In the late 60s Harry Whittington began to study the Burgess fossils in detail and discovered that many of them beloned to lineages which left no modern descendants The identification of Marrella Opabinia and other strange Cambrian creatures dropped a real bombshell in paleontological circles They prove that the Cambrian was a time of incredible evolutionary experimentation In the space of a few tens of millions of years there evolved not only the ancestors of everything alive today but also dozens of lineages that never went anywhere Most of them were simply wiped out during mass extinction episodes that of the Permo Triassic resulted in the extinction of 96% of the species then alive Stephen Jay Gould has chronicled the story of the Burgess shale in detail But in true Gould fashion he has drawn broader lessons He looks at the career of Walcott and examines why Walcott felt it was necessary to shoehorn all of the Burgess forms into a progressive theory of ancestry and diversification Historians and paleontologists are a subspecies of historian like all people are often deeply constrained by what they expect to find The Burgess shale did not fit previous theory and was therefore made to fit The implication of Whittington s discoveries is that evolution depends upon an enormous number of accidents each so contingent upon the other that it would be impossible to replay the tape and get the same story again Gould ends his book with an extended meditation on the nature of historical truth He rejects the idea that the historical sciences are in principle less accurate than the experimental sciences they are both capable of arriving at the truth often through the progressive detection and correction of error Planet of the Bugs uarry in the Canadian Rockies discovered in the early 20th century by Charles Walcott then a leading figure at the Smithsonian The Burgess fossils come from the Middle Cambrian Period around 350 million years ago They form one of the earliest assemblages of soft bodied creatures from the first era 1 0 multicelled animals They include various worms crustaceans etc but also a large number of Fishes of the Open Ocean uniue and Out of Bounds (Boundaries, unclassifiable forms In the late 60s Harry Whittington began to study the Burgess fossils in detail and discovered that many of them beloned to lineages which left no modern descendants The identification of Marrella Opabinia and other strange Cambrian creatures dropped a real bombshell in paleontological circles They prove that the Cambrian was a time of incredible evolutionary experimentation In the space of a few tens of millions of years there evolved not only the ancestors of everything alive today but also dozens of lineages that never went anywhere Most of them were simply wiped out during mass extinction episodes that of the Permo Triassic resulted in the extinction of 96% of the species then alive Stephen Jay Gould has chronicled the story of the Burgess shale in detail But in true Gould fashion he has drawn broader lessons He looks at the career of Walcott and examines why Walcott felt it was necessary to shoehorn all of the Burgess forms into a progressive theory of ancestry and diversification Historians and paleontologists are a subspecies of historian like all people are often deeply constrained by what they expect to find The Burgess shale did not fit previous theory and was therefore made to fit The implication of Whittington s discoveries is that evolution depends Grass, Sky, Song upon an enormous number of accidents each so contingent Otter Chaos! (Otter Chaos upon the other that it would be impossible to replay the tape and get the same story again Gould ends his book with an extended meditation on the nature of historical truth He rejects the idea that the historical sciences are in principle less accurate than the experimental sciences they are both capable of arriving at the truth often through the progressive detection and correction of error

Stephen Jay Gould é 6 READ

Detail In this book Stephen Jay Gould explores what the Burgess Shale tells us about evolution and the nature of histor. Stephen Jay Gould performs a really unlikely feat in this book he makes arthropods as fascinating as dinosaurs In fact he makes a subject that could be extra ordinarily dull the process of taxonomic classification of a bunch of extra old fossils of small suidgy animals into a dramatic and gripping read THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS CENSORSHIP POLICYSee the complete review here Einsteins Generation us about evolution and the nature of histor. Stephen Jay Gould performs a really Electing Judges unlikely feat in this book he makes arthropods as fascinating as dinosaurs In fact he makes a subject that could be extra ordinarily dull the process of taxonomic classification of a bunch of extra old fossils of small suidgy animals into a dramatic and gripping read THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS CENSORSHIP POLICYSee the complete review here


10 thoughts on “Wonderful Life The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

  1. says:

    A book about wonder and a wonderful book The story of the Burgess Shale—from its initial misinterpretation to its reassessment 50 years later—is mind blowing This limestone outcropping which sits at an altitude of 8000 feet in the Canadian

  2. says:

    A decent but certainly out of date book The most interesting section is that regarding the anatomy of the Burgess biota and the historical narrative of Whittington Conway Morris and Briggs is also a highlight The technical details of chapter three might throw some readers off but I found them to be fascinatingUnfortunately most of the book is out of date Most of the weird wonders that Gould describes have been taxonomically re evaluated i

  3. says:

    This book was unlike anything else I'd ever read I suspect because it owes something to the scientific monograph Maybe? Not having ever read a scientific monograph they don't even call them that these days I don't know Anyway Gould repeated and repeated and repeated the same conclusions over and over and over an

  4. says:

    “The drama I have to tell is intense and intellectual It transcends these ephemeral themes of personality and the stock stage The victory at stake is bigger and far abstract than any material reward – a new interpretation of life’s history” In these sentences Gould not only tells us the theme of his book but how much his work means to him His passion for paleontology and the story of life resonate from every page His tone

  5. says:

    Wonderful bookSome of the science has been overtaken in the uarter century since it was written but mainly in the details not in the main thru

  6. says:

    The Burgess Shale is a fossil deposit of importance eual to that of the Rift Valley sites of East Africa in that it provides truly pivotal evidence for the story of' life on earth The shale comes from a small uarry in the Canadian Rockies discovered in the early 20th century by Charles Walcott then a leading figu

  7. says:

    The Burgess Shale's creatures with their anatomies as striking as bizarre are a perfect illustration of the history of life on Earth just a matter of contingency We are but we could never have been owning our survival only t

  8. says:

    Wonderful Life is pretty well wonderful If your curiosity about the Burgess Shale or the weird and wonderful beings of the Cambrian period needs sating this book should than do it It is uite dense — Gould may ha

  9. says:

    Stephen Jay Gould performs a really unlikely feat in this book; he makes arthropods as fascinating as dinosaurs In fact he makes a subject that could be extra ordinarily dull the process of taxonomic classification of a bunch of extra old fossils of small suidgy animals into a dramatic and gripping read THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICYSee the complete review here

  10. says:

    I'm not saying anything startling or new when I say this book is awesomeSo for one thing it's a book about writing and about mythology and how what we think we know limits what we see and therefore what stories we can tell a problem which Gould addresses both in terms of paleontologists looking at the Burgess Shale and in terms of Gould himself looking at the paleontologists looking at the Burgess Shale So he talks about how Charles Dool